Annie French Hector, 'Mrs. Alexander'

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For the hymn writer, see Cecil Frances Alexander.

Annie French Hector, ‘Mrs Alexander’ (Dublin, Ireland, 1825 - London, 10 July 1902.) was a 19th-century popular novelist.

Born in 1825, she was the only child of Robert French, a Dublin solicitor. Her family claimed to be descended from Irish gentry, the French family of Roscommon and Lord Annaly. On the paternal side, she was related to the poet Charles Wolfe and on her mother’s side, to the Shakespearian scholar, Edmund Malone.[1] Annie’s father lost his money in 1844 and moved first to Liverpool, before settling in London.[2]

She married the explorer and archaeologist Alexander Hector in 1858; together they had four children. Annie wrote several novels during her early life, her first ‘Kate Vernon’ in 1854; but her husband disapproved of her writing so she remained unpublished in his lifetime.[3]

After his death in 1875, she used his first name as her pseudonym and published over forty novels as ‘Mrs Alexander’, many published by George and Richard Bentley.[4] Among her books, all of which enjoyed a wide popularity in the United States, are ‘The Wooing O't’ (1873); ‘Ralph Wilton's Weird’ (1875); ‘Her Dearest Foe’ (1876); ‘The Freres’ (1882); ‘A Golden Autumn’ (1897); ‘A Winning Hazard’ (1897); and ‘Kitty Costello’.[5] Her final novel, Kitty Costello (1902), was a quasi-autobiographical novel, detailing a young Irish girl’s move to London.

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